“Initially, the idea of doing a green building was simply the right thing to do, but then delving deeper into why it is the right thing to do assured and affirmed that we weren’t doing this just to be a part of the green movement. Being a part of this movement is fine, but it’s not enough. Understanding the philosophical and faith belief systems that underlie environmental stewardship has been energizing for me.”
–Luke Gascho, executive director of Merry Lea, 1997 to 2019
Goshen College’s educational mission includes developing a responsible understanding of stewardship for human systems and the environment in a intercultural world. Similarly, Merry Lea’s mission aims to provide environmental education for people of all ages. While educational programs at Merry Lea take place primarily outdoors, a crucial part of this education is also to understand how our lives in human-constructed settings affect the earth’s natural systems. Building green is one way to demonstrate how humans can act as responsible stewards of the environment in innovative ways.
Economic sustainability is another motivation behind green design. While the initial building costs of a green building may be higher than traditional building projects, initial building costs represent only 11%of the price of a building over its entire life span. Maintenance & repair, energy & water, and other expenses account for the remaining 89%. Because of Rieth Village’s sustainable design features, maintenance and consumption costs during the lifetime of the building are far less than those of a traditional building, saving money over time.
“I believe in sustainability and green design. In addition to being a good thing to do, green design is also becoming increasingly more necessary because it is about sustainability, in every sense of the word. Not only in doing less ecological damage, but also in just making the business venture more viable and cheaper to run. Case in point: with the stressed economic times right now, many could benefit from not paying the costs of maintaining a conventional building.”
-Alan Chalifoux, formerly of Eta Engineers